Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bethany Seminary holds second annual Presidential Forum.

Bethany Theological Seminary hosted its second annual Presidential Forum March 29-30 with the theme "Weaving Wisdom’s Tent: The Arts of Peace." Focusing on scripture from the Wisdom of Solomon 7:23-81, wisdom was invoked and examined throughout the forum. Gathered together to weave poetry, painting, song, and spirit, participants experienced varied forms of art over the two full days of the event.

Highlights of the forum included three plenary sessions lead by artists who embody peacemaking through their work. Marge Piercy, poet and novelist, shared reflections on art affecting consciousness a little bit at a time. She read several of her own poems including "The Art of Blessing the Day" and "To Be of Use," reflecting the reality of a world without peace, and hope for peaceful transformation.

John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, highlighted the "craft of noticing" and how careful noticing and listening are expressed through thoughtful words of poetry and artistic expression.

Painter Douglas Kinsey displayed several paintings portraying places where justice is absent. He shared his creative work as a way to bring about justice by exposing injustice. All three plenary speakers stimulated thoughtful questions and fruitful conversations.

Outside of the plenary sessions were imaginative worship services, creative workshops, and reflective conversation groups that engaged a variety of arts striving for peace. The Manchester College A Cappella Choir, with special guest James Hersch, offered music, and several seminary and college students had the opportunity to share their own creative works in a panel discussion.

"There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear..." (Wisdom of Solomon 7:23). Wisdom certainly was present and enveloped the Presidential Forum as Bethany Theological Seminary invited space for the arts to speak of the things that make for peace.

-- Monica Rice is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline

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